Shirkent. Traces of dinosaurs

Near Tursunzade, there is a valley of Shirkent River, where in June 1991 there was an establishment of natural and historical park, with the aim of preserving the gene pool of unique flora and fauna, ecosystems of natural and cultural values, as well as rational use, proper content and study of the south -western Hissar physico-geographical region. Monuments of nature and history in the valley of the Shirkent River have a great scientific and recreational significance and together with the picturesque landscapes make up the main content of the historical and natural park.

The most significant amongst the geological objects are three different aged dinosaur footprints, with a total number of 400 footprints of extinct lizards. The first location of ancient giant reptiles' footprints are located in one of the right tributaries of Shirkent, slightly higher than village with the same name. Here on the surface of sandy limestones you can find two chains of four-fingered footprints. The length of the prints are 50cm, with the width up to 30 cm, the length of the step is about 75 cm. Since footprints found in Shirkent were not described anywhere before, the breed of the dinosaur was classified as the new genus and species of dinosaurs from the suborder of theropods dinosaurs) and was named as Macropodosaurus gravis, which means "Bigger, heavier pangolin".

Information on the route

Distance from Dushanbe ~ 60 km, 2 hours walking, difficulty of the route - easy.

One-day hikes are available (Departure from Dushanbe at 6:30, arrival to Dushanbe at 19:00), It's possible to hike with children above 10 years old.

Route details

Departure at 6:45 , arriving to Tursunzade at 7:30 , 7:35 Transfer by the truck from Tursunzade to Shirkent, arrival at Shirkent at 9:45 , a light breakfast at 9:50 , the beginning of the hike at 10:00 , lunch at 13:00 , 19:00 Arrival to Dushanbe.

For maximum comfort we recommend to bring a headdress, towel, and an extra pair of shoes. On the way to Shirkent Natural Park we will hike through many wild plants, so we highly recommend to wear long-sleeved tank tops, shirts and light athletic pants.